In the Bleak Mid-Winter...

A friend of mine turned me on to this ole' Christmas hymn... Here it is for your listening enjoyment...




In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

The Twelve Days of Christmas-


During the English Reformation, Roman Catholics in England were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law in public or private.

It is said that the delightful nonsense rhyme, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written as one of the catechism songs to help young Catholics learn the tenets of the faith - as to be caught with anything in writing indicating even remote adherence to the Catholic faith would warrant serious punishment.

The gifts in the song are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song does not refer to any earthly suitor, but to God Himself.
The "me" who receives the presents refer to every baptised person.

The symbols in the song mean the following:

A Partridge in a Pear Tree = Christ as the partridge, the cross as the pear tree
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = The three gifts of the Magi, Faith, Hope, and Charity (the theological virtues), or the three Persons of the Trinity
4 Calling Birds = The Four Gospels/Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament)
6 Geese A-laying = The six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit or the seven sacraments
8 Maids A -milking = The eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = The Ten Commandments
11 Pipers Piping = The eleven faithful Apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = The twelve articles in the Apostles' Creed

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning on Christmas Day; this period is also known as Christmastide, and ending on the day before the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) on January 6.

Christ's Mass


The Church celebrates several feasts throughout the year which contain the -mas suffix, such as Candlemas (Presentation of Our Lord), Michaelmas (the feast of St Michael the Archangel) and the little-known Lammas (Loaf-mass Day, or the first wheat harvest of the year).

The word "Christmas" is a contraction of the phrase "Christ's Mass", derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, which refers to what is properly known as the (Mass of the) Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord.

So, for this Christmas, do not stop at remembering Christ; remember the liturgy, the great gift the Church has given to us for celebration of the Eucharist!

+Agnus Dei+


I don't usually make postings like this; but this is very powerful to me and I thought I needed to share it with you...


Choral version of Agnus Dei sung to the theme of Samuel Barbers Adagio for strings.Performed by The Choir of Trinity College,Cambridge,UK.Directed by Richard Marlow.




John 1:29
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata, miserere nobis.

British Christian nurse ordered to remove cross from her neck

In another strange case from the UK, a Christian nurse from Exeter, in the west of England, with nearly 30 years of service, and just eight months to go to her retirement, is being threatened with disciplinary action after refusing to remove a necklace bearing a Cross — a symbol of her deeply felt Christian faith.
“NHS (National Health Service) bosses insist that the Cross must be removed from sight,” said a spokesperson for the UK-based Christian Legal Centre (CLC).

Shirley Chaplin, aged 54, has worked in the NHS all her life. Ever since studying to be a nurse she has worn this necklace and Cross with her uniform. But now NHS bosses have ordered her to remove the personal item, deeming it a breach of uniform policy and a health risk to her and to patients.

“Mrs. Chaplin, informed managers at The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust Hospital that she had never had an accident injuring herself, or another patient, in three decades of nursing, and would happily sign a disclaimer absolving the Trust from any liability if she were injured by the one inch silver object,” the Christian Legal Centre spokesperson went on to say.

“The Trust refused her ‘Risk Assessment’ evidence, despite the fact that there is not one recorded accident of injury to a nurse or patient via the wearing of a necklace/cross anywhere in the NHS. The Trust insists that the Cross should not be visible.”

Mrs. Chaplin claims the demand to remove her Cross has nothing to do with Health and Safety, but is an infringement of her Human Rights, and that of being able to express her faith, which has been her foundation and strength for nearly 30 years of serving members of the public through nursing. Mrs. Chaplin said:

“I asked if I could wear the Cross pinned to my lapel, but they would only allow the cross to be pinned inside my pocket. However they said Security ID badges were permitted as the security benefit was greater than the risk,” she said.

“Necklaces are worn by other members of staff and the Trust has promoted the hospital with photographs of staff wearing necklaces. They said that other staff wearing chains including those wearing medialert chains and scarves had complied with their health and safety policy.

“The Trust also failed to explain why members of staff that were photographed wearing chains in the hospital newsletters were exempted from the health and risk policy. This smacks of double standards and appears to discriminate against Christians. This blatant piece of political correctness amounts to the marginalising of employees’ personal human rights, a blanket ‘secularising and neutralising’ of the NHS intended to stop Christians from expressing their faith in the public services of the NHS.”

Mrs. Chaplin, is supported in her ordeal by her minister, the Rev. John Eustice, of Christ Church, Exeter who has accompanied Mrs. Chaplin when she has met with Personnel and Line managers.

Mrs. Chaplin, a mother of two children, and a grandmother, said: “Everyone I have ever worked with has clearly known I am a Christian: it is what motivates me to care for others. For about 30 years I have worked in the NHS and nursed patients day and night and on no occasion has my Cross caused me or anyone else, any injury – and to my knowledge, no patient has ever complained about me wearing it. The Trust even refused to test the ‘breaking strain’ on the necklace.

Mrs. Chaplin has sought advice from the Christian Legal Centre, who have instructed leading Human Right’s Barrister Paul Diamond, who advised Caroline Petrie, the nurse who was suspended for offering to pray for a patient and then reinstated.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and founder of CLC said: “I think members of the public, including Shirley’s thousands of former patients over the years will be astonished at the request from her employer to remove a personal item which clearly expresses something of the love and care she has for people which first led her into the nursing profession.

“You cannot separate a person’s faith and motivation from other areas of their life, including what they do with the majority of their time: work".

“Unfortunately an aggressive, secularist, politically correct agenda is being driven in the NHS and other public sectors at present. Those wanting to promote the agenda say that it is ‘neutral’ but manifestly it is not. This agenda is leading to case after case of discrimination against Christians and real suffering. We will be assisting Shirley to hold out for her Human Rights – and expect the public en masse to do so as well.”

Fragment of world's oldest bible discovered in Egypt


A fragment of the world's oldest Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus, has been uncovered hidden underneath the binding of an 18th century book in an Egyptian monastery, news reports said.
British based Greek academic, Nikolas Sarris, spotted a previously unseen section of the Codex Sinaiticus, which dates from about AD350, as he was trawling through photographs of a series of book bindings from the 18th century in the library of St Catherine's Monastery in Egypt, UK's The Independent and the Telegraph reported.

Over the centuries, antique parchment was often re-used by St Catherine's monks in book bindings because of its strength and the relative difficulty of finding fresh parchment in such a remote corner of the world.

The 30 year old student conservator, who has been involved in the British library's project to digitise the Codex, said he almost instantly noticed the distinct Greek lettering visible in a section of a book binding, The Independent said.

"Although it is not my area of expertise, I had helped with the online project so the Codex had been heavily imprinted in my memory," Mr Sarris said. "I began checking the height of the letters and the columns and quickly realised we were looking at an unseen part of the Codex."

He then emailed Father Justin, the monastery's librarian, to suggest a closer look.

"Even if there is a one in a million possibility that it could be a Sinaiticus fragment that has escaped our attention, I thought it would be best to say it rather than dismiss it," he told The Independent.

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Father Justin said the monastery would use scanners to look more closely at how much of the fragment existed under the newer book binding.

"Modern technology should allow us to examine the binding in a non-invasive manner," he said.

Along with the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Sinaiticus is considered the oldest known Bible in the world.

Presiding Bishop castigates critics of her heresy comments

(Note: as studens of Theology this issue is very clear; but as we find out from Schori's skewed comments "A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough." Gal. 5:9)

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has castigated critiques of her July 7 heresy sermon, saying her claim that it was heretical to believe that individual believers can find salvation through Jesus Christ, had been misconstrued.

Salvation “depends on love of God and our relationship with Jesus,” and is made manifest by right conduct, the presiding bishop said last week in defense of her views.

However, evangelical critics of the presiding bishop note her explanations fall short, as “we are not justified by love, but rather justified by faith,” the Rev Mark Thompson, Head of Theology at Moore College in Sydney tells Religious Intelligence.

In her opening remarks to the Episcopal Church’s triennial synod, the Presiding Bishop stated the “crises” facing the church arose from the “great Western heresy that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.”

This belief was “caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said. This “individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of all being.”

Critics dismissed the Presiding Bishop’s remarks as theologically ill-informed and as a mean spirited attack on conservative evangelicals. On Aug 27 the presiding bishop responded to these charges in an essay published by the church’s in-house media arm, Episcopal Life.

Bishop Jefferts Schori stated there had been “varied reactions from people who weren't there, who heard or read an isolated comment without the context. Apparently I wasn't clear!”

Individualism, she argued, was “basically unbiblical and unchristian” as the “spiritual journey” according to “the Judeo-Christian tradition” was about “holy living in community.”

“If salvation is understood only as ‘getting right with God’ without considering ‘getting right with (all) our neighbors,’ then we've got a heresy (an unorthodox belief) on our hands,” she argued, adding that “salvation depends on love of God and our relationship with Jesus, and we give evidence of our relationship with God in how we treat our neighbors.”

“Salvation cannot be complete, in an eternal and eschatological sense, until the whole of creation is restored to right relationship,” Bishop Jefferts Schori concluded.

While the Presiding Bishop’s explanation of her July remarks “does properly emphasize some fundamental truths that Christians affirm,” her argument was incomplete, the Rev Ephraim Radner, Professor of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto told Religious Intelligence.

Dr Radner noted that presiding bishop did not address her claim that it was “heresy” to claim “we can be saved as individuals”.

“God does save us as ‘individuals’, as particular beings; and he creates us as such. We are created with and resurrected with particular bodies and beings and souls. This is a bedrock Christian conviction,” he said.

Bishop Jefferts Schori’s claim that salvation “depends” on our doing certain things, such as loving God or treating others justly are “clearly false according to Christian teaching, Dr Radner added, for “salvation ‘depends’ on only one thing, the grace of God in Christ Jesus.”

While Dr Radner noted the presiding bishop does concede this point in the close of her letter, that salvation is “ultimately the gift of a good and gracious God, not the product of our incessant striving,” her demonization of evangelicals was unwise. “It would have been helpful in her “clarification” if she had tried a little harder to exhibit some appreciation of the theological traditions that have in fact sought to maintain a clear sense of divine grace, having earlier and unjustly vilified them,” he said.

Dr. Thompson told us the presiding bishop “still does not seem to get the point that the Bible is concerned about both personal salvation and the relationships in which we operate as Christians, with each other and with the world. It is always wrong to pit one against the other, from either direction.”

Bishop Jefferts Schori “continues to caricature evangelical teaching. There is no one that I know of or have read who claims that reciting a simple formula about Jesus guarantees one’s salvation,” Dr Thompson said. Faith was not a mantra of repeated words, but the “wholehearted trust in the person of the Son of God who gave himself for our sins and this trust binds us in relationship with others God has called to himself.

He added that the presiding bishop’s “continued theological confusion is evident when she says that ‘salvation depends on love of God and our relationship with Jesus’. More care with the Bible and more intimate knowledge of the theological tradition would have enabled her to see this as a seriously flawed statement.”

“Our salvation depends on what Jesus had done in his death and resurrection,” Dr Thompson said, as “our appropriate response is to trust him and that trust flows out into our relationships with one another as love.”

It was “perfectly reasonable to complain when others deliberately twist what you are saying,” he said. However, in the presiding bishop’s case “the confusion has been caused by her own failure to confess the teaching of Scripture with clarity and her own ignorance of Christian theology.”

Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity- October 20

Since January 22, 1973 over 50,000,000 babies have had their voices silenced through surgical abortion in this nation alone.

Over 4,000 children have their lives taken each day in the name of choice.

Over 4,000 women are emotionally damaged every day.

On October 20, 2009 people from all over this nation will give up their voices for a day in solidarity for these children. Red arm bands and duct tape will identify them as taking part in the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity. They will carry fliers explaining why they are silent and educate others about the plight of the innocent children we are losing every day.

Are you willing to give up your voice for a day for those who will never have a voice?

Be sure and go to silentday.org and register for the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity.

Street Preacher Arrested in UK

A 29-year-old street preacher has been released on bail following an arrest in Maidstone, Kent
The arrest came after an initial warning by Manchester Police at the end of July. Miguel Hayworth was approached by Police Officers in St Anne's square, Manchester, where he was threatened with an arrest and a warning that reading portions of scripture in public could be classed as an offence under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.
The Police issued the warning when they received a complaint about his conduct being offensive and inciting racial and religious hatred.
Onn Sein Kon, Mr Hayworth's case worker from the Christian Legal Centre said: "The police did not pursue this line when they issued the warning, so an investigation is being made into the nature of the offence."
Mr Miguel read from Romans 1 to 6, which deals with sexual orientation. Mr Kon said this case is similar to that of Pastor Harry Hammond, who held anti-homosexuality placards in Bournemouth Square whilst reciting from the book of Revelation, and was later issued with a public order offence.
Mr Hayworth was arrested on Monday morning for preaching from the same part of the Bible. "Romans 1 to 6 is his normal modus operandi,” said Mr Kon, "but under the Human Rights Act, why should this be an offence at all?"
Andy Banton, General Secretary of the Open Air Mission, said: "We got legal advice on this two years ago so preachers know their responsibilities before the law and their rights and as far as that is concerned, we're free to preach the Christian message. The difficulty is that the legislation is very grey and open to interpretation, which invites mischief-makers.
“In the past, people have run with false accusations against street preachers because of disagreements with what they have to say. For some, the Bible is incompatible with their modern lifestyle. A person who goes into a court of law swears an oath on the Bible, so for people to be arrested for quoting it seems ludicrous.”
In an extract from a letter stipulating the rights of Preachers, Ormerods Solicitors note that freedom of speech "includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, provided it does not tend to provoke violence.
“Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having."
Mr Banton added: "So few people are attending church, under 10 per cent a week, so 90 per cent aren't hearing the most important message in the world. We're braving the fear and going into the public place."

British woman with connection to Amnesty International leaves over abortion


The British woman Fiorella Nash owes the release of her father from prison in Malta in the 1970s to Amnesty International.

For Nash, supporting the organization over the years was a given, but recently she decided to suspend her support because of group's pro-abortion agenda.
According to the website Religion Confidencial, “Fiorella Nash owes her father’s life to Amnesty International. For many years she worked with the NGO until she became aware of its pro-abortion slant.”

Since its founding by Catholic British lawyer Peter Benenson, Amnesty has been one of the human rights groups that was most supported by Catholic and Protestant believers in the United Kingdom.

When August 2007 rolled around, Amnesty raised the ire of some of its strongest supporters by revealing its intention to campaign for access to abortion.

The decision to move from not having a position on abortion to campaigning for it led bishops and lay people around the world to withdraw their membership from the organization, calling the abortion agenda a betrayal of the group's founding principles.

“Amnesty has focused its most recent campaign on the government of Nicaragua, accusing it of being responsible for the deaths of pregnant adult and teen women because of its laws against abortion,” the website reported.

According to Nash, who works at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, she cannot support Amnesty because of its pro-abortion agenda. “Its conferences on the issue only include pro-abortion speakers, there is no open debate on the issue,” she said.

Nash was pregnant when Amnesty publicly revealed its pro-abortion slant. “I was pregnant with my first son and I thought, ‘When my father was in a defenseless situation I helped him. What am I doing now to help the equally defenseless unborn?’”

Socionomics


Here is the direct link: YouTube.com


Socionomics postulates that social mood drives financial, macroeconomic and political behavior, in contrast to the conventional notion that such events drive the social mood. The counter-intuitive premise of the socionomic hypothesis—that in contexts of uncertainty, endogenous processes (not exogenous causes) create patterns of social behavior—has gained attention in academic journals, books, the popular press, at academic conferences and in research...


Married deacons within three years


Irish parishes will see married men baptising babies and performing weddings within three years as a new training programme for deacons gets underway.

Just short of twenty men, many of them married, from the Archdiocese of Dublin and the Diocese of Elphin will commence their 3-year studies for the permanent diaconate starting early next month.

Once ordained the deacons can serve a number of functions in a parish including performing baptisms and officiating at weddings and funerals.

The ministry of permanent deacons, while popular in the early Church had fallen into disuse by the Middle Ages, and was only reintroduced by Vatican II (1962-65).

Irish Church leaders received permission from the Vatican in 2001 to proceed with the restoration of the permanent diaconate and in 2005 the Holy See approved a specific National Directory and Norms for Ireland which provides for the training of deacons.

Initially eleven of the 26 dioceses in Ireland ARE introducing permanent deacons into their parishes; Dublin and Elphin are at the most advanced stage having had potential candidates preparing to commence formal studies for the past twelve months.

Deacons combine their ministry with their career and normally serve the Church in a part-time capacity. To facilitate the fact that candidates have to combine their studies with holding down a job the three-year programme is delivered through a variety of evening and weekend courses.

In a similar fashion to priestly training, formation consists of the four areas of pastoral formation, spiritual formation, human formation and academic formation.

A married man must have reached the age of 35 before he can be ordained to the permanent diaconate. He must also have the formal consent of his wife.

Unmarried candidates must have reached the age of 25 before they can be ordained as permanent deacons.

In keeping with the tradition of the Church, those who are ordained as single men make a solemn promise of celibacy.

Spain's Justice Minister says doctors not allowed to object to abortion


The Collegial Medical Organization and various pro-life groups in Spain have strongly rejected statements by the country’s Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamano, who said Thursday that “there is no room for conscientious objection” when it comes to abortion.

The president of the Collegial Medical Organization, Dr. Juan Jose Rodriguez Sendin, said, “The right doctors have in Spain to conscientious objection is going to be respected, whether they like it or not, and it is better this is accepted on good rather than on bad terms.”

Conscientious objection is universally recognized in the medical profession, he insisted, noting that the commitment not to kill, not to abort, not to take part in torture, not to betray patients has been part of medical practice for more than 40 centuries.

“It should not seem strange to any normal person that doctors do not want to perform abortions, what ought to seem strange is the opposite,” he added. “Because it is not an ideological problem, it is simply a question of freedom. For this reason, we are going to defend the right of doctors to conscientious objection,” Rodriguez said.

The Association for the Defense of Conscientious Objection issued a press release calling the statements by the Minister of Justice “sectarian, imprudent and revealing of a manifest scorn for constitutional law, which considers conscientious objection to abortion a right of doctors and other health care professionals.”
“For the vast majority of doctors, the rejection of abortion is not based on moral principles but on the conviction that it presupposes ending human life,” the association warned.

It also noted that conscientious objection is the last resort for a citizen “when an obligation imposed by law causes rejection or a grave moral conflict.” “We are certain that the Minister would not want to ‘taste his own medicine’ if he found himself in other circumstances,” the group said.

“We deplore the ‘crusade’ that has been launched in recent days against freedom of conscience,” the association said, calling on the Minister of Justice to publicly clarify “whether his respect for freedom of conscience is sincere or is subject to political interests.”

Right to Life spokesperson, Gador Joya, warned Caamano that no minister and no government “can force a doctor to end a human life and harm the health of his patients. No matter what Mr. Caamano says, we doctors protect life and care for our patients. The vast majority does not practice abortion nor will we,” she stressed.

Property Dispute Indicates Widening Church Gap


A local Episcopal parish that is defending its property against a claim from the Episcopal Church is filing a brief in a similar California case.

The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont filed an amicus brief in a case against St. James Anglican Church Newport Beach, where the local Episcopal diocese is claiming St. James' property because the church withdrew from communion with the Episcopal Church.

The amicus, or friend of the court filing, outlines Good Shepherd's side of the Montgomery County dispute for the court's benefit. St. James has appealed a previous ruling of the California Supreme Court to the Supreme Court of the U.S.

"We see our amicus brief for St. James, Newport Beach as an act of witness to our parish motto – non ministrari, sed ministrare – not to be ministered unto, but to minister," said Bishop David Moyer, the rector at Good Shepherd. Bishop Moyer added that the brief was filed out of "thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received from near and far in our struggles for the Gospel and the Catholic religion."

Earlier this year, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania filed an action in the Montgomery County Orphan's Court to claim Good Shepherd’s real estate. The diocese asserts that the property “is held in trust for the Episcopal Church and the Diocese,” and accuses Bishop Moyer and the Good Shepherd Vestry of acting outside the discipline of the church. The case against Good Shepherd is unprecedented, since in other property disputes with the Episcopal Church around the country, the parish in question has left the church, but continued to hold the property. Good Shepherd has never left the Episcopal Church, the foundation for the diocese's argument in the property case.

"I think probably the first thing to recognize here is that in many of these cases around the country these cases are dealing with a parish or diocese that has withdrawn from the Episcopal Church," said Paul Danello, a lawyer with Baker and Daniels, a law firm in Washington that is defending Good Shepherd.

Mr. Danello said that much of the Episcopal Church's argument rests on canons that were unilaterally imposed on the parishes.

The Church of the Good Shepherd was founded in 1869 in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The parish was incorporated and admitted to the Diocese of Pennsylvania shortly thereafter. At first services were held in community halls and public school buildings as the search for a suitable location proceeded. In 1872 land was bought on the north side of Lancaster Avenue in Villanova, and a church was built. The current church building was built in 1894 in Rosemont.

Good Shepherd was founded under the influence of the Oxford Movement, a 19th Century movement in Anglicanism that placed emphasis on the sacraments, holiness of life, and outreach and service to those less fortunate.

There has been no ruling in the Good Shepherd case, and both Mr. Danello and a spokesperson for the Diocese of Pennsylvania said they are waiting for word from the court. However, leaders at Good Shepherd said that the current disputes over property are signs of much more important issues at play in the Anglican Communion.

In recent years, the Episcopal Church has acted as a lightning rod surrounding the understanding and interpretation of religion. An uproar arose in the Communion over the 2004 ordination of Bishop Gene Robinson, as the ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire and the first openly gay Episcopal bishop.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has led an Anglican Communion increasingly split between a push for legitimizing homosexuality and strict interpretation of biblical prohibitions of it. The Episcopal Church ignored Archbishop Williams' pleas for restraint, instead opting to accept gay bishops and adopt a ritual to bless gay unions. Less than two weeks later, several openly gay candidates had been nominated to serve as bishops in dioceses around the country.

A group of bishops boycotted the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference last summer, opting to hold a rival conference instead. The Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) endorsed the traditional religion, including the primacy of scripture and the Apostle's Creed. Since GAFCON, a number of parishes have split from the Episcopal Church and joined a rival communion, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). ACNA is hoping for communion with Canterbury.

"You have this huge chasm that exists in the Anglican Communion right now," said Bishop Moyer. "The Anglican Communion really doesn't exist anymore as a communion because there is not common faith and common order. The whole thing is imploded. It's like people are going in opposite directions at a faster rate than ever before. Conservative Anglicans have bound themselves together for strength, and other Anglicans are looking outside the Anglican world. ACNA has said 'we will preserve Anglicanism as we understand it.' And others are saying that Anglicanism must be in communion with something much bigger and much larger."

In the middle of the rising tide in the Episcopal Church, Good Shepherd's leaders are feeling the brunt of pressure from the Episcopal Church concerned with keeping its property amidst growing defection by conservatives. At first blush, the Episcopal Church's arguments are simply that of a diocese trying to oust ineligible leadership at an innocent parish. But Mr. Danello said that the interior issues of the church have now inappropriately found their way into a civil court.

"What we have here is a civil case that could potentially end up in Pennsylvania Supreme Court," said Mr. Danello. "Who's entitled to hold office, priestly and Episcopal ordination, these are the kinds of issues that most people look at and say [that] this isn't for a civil court to decide. To present these issues under the camouflage of a property dispute seems to us to be an abuse of the civil court system."

The most prominent point of contention for the diocese appears to be Bishop Moyer, who ran afoul of Bishop Charles Bennison about six years ago, leading to his deposition amid accusations that he abandoned the church. Bishop Moyer was immediately received into the province of central Africa and transferred to the Diocese of Pittsburgh. In anticipation of the deposition, both the present and past Archbishops of Canterbury said Bishop Moyer would be accepted into the Church of England as a priest in good standing.

"[The diocesan dispute] is a theological issue," said Bishop Moyer. "The Episcopal Church holds a revisionist system concerning doctrinal matters. We uphold what the church has taught for centuries. These doctrinal issues are ones where there is a broad sweep of the Anglican Communion [to be considered]. The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania has taken on to itself to be the sole arbiter of these issues. We're not doing anything wrong. We're loyal, faithful sons and daughters. We're just trying to be a church. The Diocese of Pennsylvania says they don't like the way we're being a church."

Bishop Moyer said that people in the pews are being alienated because of the way the diocese is pursuing its case, and seemed saddened at the prospect of the parish being forced from its church.

"The people here are the Anglo-Catholic parish on the main line," he said. "We have a unique history and heritage. People are drawn here for that reason. If this church was removed from this building, I don't think they'd be successful in founding another Episcopal parish here, because there are already many Episcopal parishes on the main line."

In 1989, the parish affiliated with the Episcopal Synod of America, now called Forward in Faith North America, and is now one of several parishes in the Diocese of Pennsylvania that are so affiliated.

"Good Shepherd belongs in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of worship, teaching, mission, and has remained steadfast in Christian orthodoxy since its founding," reads the parish's website. "Two basic pillars of parish life have been Catholic worship and Christian outreach."

Homeless NYC Holocaust survivor leaves $100,000 gift


JERUSALEM (AP) —Hebrew University has received a surprise donation of more than $100,000 from an unexpected benefactor — a woman who survived the Nazi Holocaust and appeared to be destitute, a university official said Sunday.

Upon her death two years ago, a homeless Holocaust survivor living on the streets of New York City willed the gift to the university. The Jewish woman lived out of a shopping cart in Manhattan and had no known relatives, said Yefet Ozery, Hebrew University's director of development and public relations.

"She lived as a very poor woman. And when she died at the age of 92, it was discovered she had accumulated close to $300,000," Ozery said.

The university first learned about the gift three months ago but did not receive the money until this week. It will be used to fund scholarships for medical research students, according to the woman's wishes, Ozery said, refusing to disclose her name. The story was first reported by The Jerusalem Post daily.

Not much is known about the woman, who had no known connection to the university. She left the other half of her savings to various causes and beneficiaries, though Ozery said it is unknown how she amassed the small fortune.

"No one knows where she got it from. But she probably lived penny to penny. She probably saved it to do good for the world and for the Jewish people," Ozery said.

The woman's last known employer was a Jewish man in New York, who hired her to move his car to avoid parking tickets in exchange for a hot meal and a room, Ozery said. The woman also left that employer a portion of her savings.

Student invents solar-powered fridge for developing countries


Proving once again that the best ideas are often the simplest, 21-year-old student/inventor/entrepreneur Emily Cummins has designed a brilliant portable solar-powered refrigerator that works based upon the principle of evaporation. Employing a combination of conduction and convection, the refrigerator requires no electricity and can be made from commonly available materials like cardboard, sand, and recycled metal.




Simply place perishable foods or temperature-sensitive medications in the solar refrigerator’s interior metal chamber and seal it. In-between the inner and outer chamber, organic material like sand, wool or soil is then saturated with water. As the sun warms the organic material, water evaporates, reducing the temperature of the inner chamber to a cool, 6 ºC [43 ºF] for days at a time!

After winning £5,000 from York Merchant Adventurers for her idea, Emily delayed going to college for a year to take her refrigerator to Africa for further development. She made six versions during the initial phase of production and helped make more than 50 during the trip where locals in Namibia nicknamed her “The Fridge Lady“. The refrigerator has since rolled out in Zambia, Namibia and South Africa and Emily believes thousands more may be in use as the design passes from community to community through word-of-mouth.

Emily explained: “I set about looking at how I could make a sustainable version after asking people what luxury they couldn’t live without and one of the answers that kept coming up was ‘fridge’…I wanted to keep it really simple and so I set about researching how we cooled things years ago. The simplest method of cooling something could be seen when you look at how we cool biologically—through sweating or evaporation. That idea led me to the design and the fridge was born.”




Emily has been inventing from an early age - she received her first hammer at the tender age of four from her grandfather who was an engineer, and she soon set to work making toys and rabbit hutches. At 16 Emily won a regional Young Engineer for Britain Award for creating a toothpaste squeezer for people with arthritis, and the next year went on to win a Sustainable Design Award for a water-carrier made from wood and rubber tubing. In 2007 Emily was named the British Female Innovator of the Year, and last year was short-listed for Cosmopolitan’s 2008 Ultimate Women of the Year Competition.

“I do want to use my skills to make a difference,” Emily says. “I’m not interested in making a bigger TV or greater sound system. I want to create change for the better.” Well said. We know we’ll hear much more from Emily in the future.

(note: although this technology is not new it is exciting to see it's sucessfull implementation... see also the Pot-in-Pot Refigerator)

Book of Common Prayer Celebrates 460th Birthday

This last Whitsunday/Pentecost marked the 460th birthday of the Book of Common Prayer; first penned in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Traditional Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian prayer books have borrowed from the Book of Common Prayer, and the marriage and burial rites have found their way into those of other denominations and into the English language. Like the Authorized King James Bible and the works of Shakespeare, many words and phrases from the Book of Common Prayer have entered popular culture.

Five hundred years before the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s called for Catholic Mass to be said in the native language of its faithful, Thomas Cranmer translated the Bible and Holy Communion celebration so that the educated and uneducated alike could comprehend God's words.

The Thomas Cranmer explained why in the Book of Common Prayer's preface: 

"And moreover, whereas  s. Paule (St. Paul) would have suche language spoken to the people in the churche, as they mighte understande and have profite by hearyng the same; the service in this Churche of England (these many yeares) hath been read in Latin to the people, whiche they understoode not; so that they have heard with theyr eares onely; and their hartes, spirite, and minde, have not been edified thereby."

The Book of Common Prayer became one of the most influential works ever written in English, preceeding the King James Bible and the works of Shakespeare by six decades.

Apostolic Bible (Polyglot)


The Apostolic Bible Polyglot is to the Internet what the Gutenberg Bible was to printing. 

The text of The Apostolic Bible Polyglot includes:
a 13 page Introduction, 
a 1232 page numerically coded interlinear Greek-English Old Testament (LXX), 
a numerically coded 372 page interlinear Greek-English New Testament, 
an 88 page numerically coded English-Greek Index of The Apostolic Bible Polyglot, 
and a 366 page numerically coded Lexical Concordance of The Apostolic Bible Polyglot.

Totaling 2112 pages. The numerical coding is called the ”AB-Strong Numbering System.” The AB-Strong numbering system follows the numbering system developed by James Strong in the 19th century and it has been adapted to The Apostolic Bible Polyglot Greek Old Testament (LXX) by the translator...


Free Downloads of the Apostolic Bible Polyglot...








Video Seminars for each book (verse by verse, chapter by chapter-with the translator; Charles Van Der Pool)

Council of Nicea turns 1684 years old...



The first Council of Nicea convened in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day İznik in Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I on May the 20th, 1684 years ago... 

The Council was historically significant as the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.

Historically significant as the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, the Council was the first occasion for the development of technical Christology. Through it a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to adopt creeds and canons. This council is generally considered the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils in the History of Christianity.

The agenda of the synod were:

1)The Arian question regarding the relationship between God the Father and Jesus; i.e. are the Father and Son one in purpose only or also one in being;

2)The date of celebration of the Paschal/Easter observation


4)The validity of baptism by heretics;

5)The status of the lapsed in the persecution under Licinius.

Finally, the council promulgated twenty new church laws, called canons, (though the exact number is subject to debate), that is, unchanging rules of discipline. The twenty as listed in the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers are as follows:

1. prohibition of self-castration; (see Origen)
2. establishment of a minimum term for catechumen;
3. prohibition of the presence in the house of a cleric of a younger woman who might bring him under suspicion;
4. ordination of a bishop in the presence of at least three provincial bishops and confirmation by the metropolitan;
5. provision for two provincial synods to be held annually;
6. exceptional authority acknowledged for the patriarchs of Alexandria and Rome, for their respective regions;
7. recognition of the honorary rights of the see of Jerusalem;
8. provision for agreement with the Novatianists;
9–14. provision for mild procedure against the lapsed during the persecution under Licinius;
15–16. prohibition of the removal of priests;
17. prohibition of usury among the clergy;
18. precedence of bishops and presbyters before deacons in receiving Holy Communion, the Eucharist;
19. declaration of the invalidity of baptism by Paulian heretics;
20. prohibition of kneeling during the liturgy, on Sundays and in the fifty days of Eastertide ("the pentecost"). Standing was the normative posture for prayer at this time, as it still is among the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics. (In time, Western Christianity adopted the term Pentecost to refer to the last Sunday of Eastertide, the fiftieth day.)

On July 25, 325, in conclusion, the fathers of the council celebrated the emperor's twentieth anniversary. In his valedictory address, Constantine again informed his hearers how averse he was to dogmatic controversy; he wanted the Church to live in harmony and peace. In a circular letter, he announced the accomplished unity of practice by the whole Church in the date of the celebration of Christian Passover (now called Easter).

The long-term effects of the Council of Nicaea were significant. For the first time, representatives of many of the bishops of the Church convened to agree on a doctrinal statement. Also for the first time, the Emperor played a role, by calling together the bishops under his authority, and using the power of the state to give the Council's orders effect.

In the short-term, however, the council did not completely solve the problems it was convened to discuss and a period of conflict and upheaval continued for some time. Constantine himself was succeeded by two Arian Emperors in the Eastern Empire: his son, Constantine II and Valens. Valens could not resolve the outstanding ecclesiastical issues, and unsuccessfully confronted St. Basil over the Nicene Creed. 

Pagan powers within the Empire sought to maintain and at times re-establish Paganism into the seat of Emperor (see Arbogast and Julian the Apostate). Arians and the Meletians soon regained nearly all of the rights they had lost, and consequently, Arianism continued to spread and to cause division in the Church during the remainder of the fourth century. Almost immediately, Eusebius of Nicomedia, an Arian bishop and cousin to Constantine I, used his influence at court to sway Constantine's favor from the orthodox Nicene bishops to the Arians. Eustathius of Antioch was deposed and exiled in 330. Athanasius, who had succeeded Alexander as Bishop of Alexandria, was deposed by the First Synod of Tyre in 335 and Marcellus of Ancyra followed him in 336. Arius himself returned to Constantinople to be readmitted into the Church, but died shortly before he could be received. Constantine died the next year, after finally receiving baptism from Arian Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, and "with his passing the first round in the battle after the Council of Nicaea was ended."

Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary : Latin Expressions Commonly Found in Theological Writings





Google Books is offering a limited preview of "Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary : Latin Expressions Commonly Found in Theological Writings" by James T. Bretzke or more commonly know as 'Dictionary of Theological Latin'. They (google books) offer the first 49 pages or A-G on their site; great read for the cerebral minds or nerds alike...

Read this great resource HERE...

Orthodoxy comes to SMS by surprise...




This Saturday, the second session of the "Life in the Spirit" course, instead of the planned discussion of Pentecostal and Charismatic theology, during first two hours of our class, Lorraine instructed us regarding Orthodox spirituality. It was very informative and detailed. I'm sure she did not intend to run so long but by the time we had our first break it was already time for lunch... Awesome!

Here are some of the highlights...

Theology is steeped into the lives of all those in the Orthodox faith from the time they are born. Babies are not flawed, but one day they will indeed die, thru Baptism the child enters into death and then enters into it's new life with Christ, the child is given a new family (the Body of believers) and it is given a vocation.

Through fasting we are reminded that God sustains us not food. As humans we are controlled by our passions, our bodily means dominate our lives, thru fasting Christ helps us to be holy so that the Holy Spirit may work greater in our lives, for without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14) Fasting isn't a contest.

The 5 annual Fasts are:
Great Lent
(some start 2 weeks prior to Great Lent in the tradition of the monastics)
Holy Week Fast
Fast of the Apostles
Fast of the Dormition of the Theotokos
Fast of the Nativity

In Bible study God is speaking to us Jesus Himself is the Divine Word, we must listen with obediance and our studies should be Christ centered -looking for Christ on every page- Bible study is Christ speaking to me and I respond, as the "stories" of the the Bible include me. In prayer we enter our "inner room" (the heart) and by faith pray to God with intention, with tears, repentance and denial. Prayer should be a regular time, a special place and the hardest part -just get started-

The Jesus Prayer

"Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, Υιέ του Θεού, ελέησόν με τον αμαρτωλόν."

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Most High God, Have Mercy on me a sinner"

The Jesus Prayer is one of the most profound and mystical prayers and it is often repeated continually as a part of personal ascetic practice. The goal of the disciplines is to share in the transfiguration of Christ so that we may see Christ just as the Apostles did

We were also treated by Cn. Thelogian Fr. Glenn Davis presentation of his address for the CEC Theological Summit to be held next week in Orlando, Florida.

Question to be answered for next session:
-What is the difference between personal prophecy and divination?-

The First Book of Common Prayer- 1549


The First Book of Common Prayer- 1549

Links on this website will lead you to all parts of   

Enjoy!

(the table of contents picture is a clickable index) 

God With Us: The Meaning of the Tabernacle by Frank Weston, D.D.


Our relation with the Christ as He is in all His members is not direct, but mediate, through the Holy Spirit who fills His manhood. And every attempt to over-emphasize the dwelling of Christas man within us is mistaken. He is not in us that we may perceive His manhood as it is His own; but that we may apprehend it as the temple and treasure-house in which the Spirit takes what is His to give to us, as the Spirit's instrument of ministry, as God's own means of dwelling in us.

That this should prove to be the case is what any one might expect who meditates on the nature of humanity. It is conceivable that Christ's manhood is within me since God is in me, and where the Word is, there also is His manhood. It is not conceivable that His manhood is in me qua manhood; since qua manhood it is in heaven, at God's right hand.

This does not mean that intimate communion with Christ within us is not to be encouraged. Nor does it mean that He is not personally in us. Nor does it conflict with the doctrine that Christ comes to us in communion, sacramentally, and abides in us independently of the sacramental elements. It does, however, mean that His presence within us is not primarily for this purpose of personal meeting in respect of His manhood. Primarily He is in us that the Blessed Trinity may be in us. S. Paul says, "Christ liveth in me." And the Christ says, "We will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Thus we "sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," and are, increasingly, being "filled with all the fulness of God."


Frank Weston D.D.

Excerpts from A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE LORD'S SUPPER by THOMAS WILSON, D.D.

SECTION II
The end and Institution of the Lord's Supper.

ST. PAUL concludes his first Epistle to the Corinthians with this remarkable direction; "If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be Anathema, Maranatha:" that is, Let him be separated from your communion, as one under the displeasure of God, and, without a timely repentance, in no possibility of being saved: nothing being more grievous in the sight of God, than for a sinner to slight the greatest instance of His mercy that was ever offered to man, as well as the only means of his salvation.

To prevent this, and to hinder sinners from forgetting (which they are but too apt to do) this token of God's infinite love, and to fix the love of Jesus Christ more surely in our hearts and memory, He Himself hath taken care, that His [346] love and mercy should throughout all generations be remembered: He did therefore ordain this Sacrament as a memorial of our redemption, and of His love for us, as a pledge to assure us of it, and as an outward means and sign of testifying, as well as increasing, our love to Him.

The holy Apostles of Christ, who were present when He first administered this Sacrament, give us the following account of its institution:

They signify to us in the first place, that this Sacrament was ordained by Christ the same night in which He was betrayed; and after they had observed the Passover, which had been ordained to preserve the memory of their great deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and which did prefigure, and was a prophecy of a much greater deliverance, which Jesus Christ was to be the Author of, not only for them, but for all mankind: and which prophecy was surprisingly fulfilled by that people, without knowing what they were doing [d], when they crucified Jesus Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, the very same month, the very same day of the month, and the very same hour of the day, that the Paschal Lamb was first ordained to be sacrificed.

Now, after the Paschal Supper, as the Apostles relate it, "Jesus Christ took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, Take, eat: this is My Body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. He took also the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is My Blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins: this do, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as oft as ye shall eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord's death till He come."

In obedience therefore to this command of Jesus Christ, who has delivered us from a much greater bondage then that of Egypt, the Christian Church keeps up the memory of His love, His sacrifice, and His sufferings, and death, after this solemn manner:

First, as an acknowledgement that our lives, and all that we eat or drink to preserve them, are owing to the bounty of God, we present upon His table, by the hands of His own [347] Minister, a portion of His creatures, the best we have for the support and comfort of our natural life, namely, bread and wine. After this the bread and wine are consecrated, the bread is broken, and the wine poured out, to represent the death of Christ, whose body was broken, and whose blood was shed for us.

The Minister of God, as the steward of Christ's household, applies these blessings to every person who receives this Sacrament, in this devout prayer; "The Body and Blood of Christ, which were given and shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life."

And we may be assured of it, that this Sacrament will be to every worthy communicant, what the tree of life would have been unto Adam and Eve in Paradise; and that as they, had they continued obedient, would have been in no danger of temporal death; even so we, while we feed on this bread, now endued with a life-giving Spirit, and live as we ought to do, are in no danger of death eternal.

These being pledges to assure us, that as certainly as bread and wine do nourish our bodies, so do these seal to us all the benefits which Jesus Christ hath purchased for us by His sacrifice and death.

And when any Christian does wilfully, and for want of faith, deprive himself of this spiritual food, he falls, as our first parents did, into a state purely natural, and destitute of the means of grave and salvation.

For the happiness of the world, and of every soul in it, depends upon the sacrifice of Christ; of which we are bound to keep up the remembrance after this solemn manner: That, whenever we pray for any favour or blessing, we may remember to do it in His name: That, whenever we are so unhappy as to have done any thing which may displease God, we may remember to pray to be forgiven for Christ's sake.

For God grants whatever we ask, and which He sees to be for our good, when we ask in faith, that is, in His Son's name; and therefore the Church concludes all her prayers in these most prevailing words; for Jesus Christ's sake.

In one word; we do by this Sacrament keep up a continual correspondence with our Lord in Heaven; and hold communion with Him, and with all the members of His [348] Body, which receive nourishment and growth from Him, as the branches of the tree in which they are grafted, and from which when they are separated, they can bear no fruit, and are only fit to be burned.

And as every Christian is obliged, at the peril of his soul, to observe it, so the duty must be such, as every one, even the most unlearned, may understand, if it be not his own fault. And so indeed it is: for as an Israelite, under the Law (Levit. i. 4), being obliged to lay his hand upon the head of his sacrifice, confessing his sins, and laying them, as it were, upon that creature,--as he did easily understand that this was to shew him that death was the due reward of sin; that this ought to humble him before God, and to give him the greatest abhorrence of sin, which could not be pardoned but by the loss of the life of an innocent creature:--

As this was plain to the meanest Israelite, even so the most unlearned Christian, when he considers that our Lord Jesus Christ became a sacrifice for us, and that on Him all our sins were laid,--on Him who knew no sin;--he will easily understand how sad our condition was, which required such a sacrifice: that this therefore ought to humble us, to lead us to repentance, to make us fearful of offending God, and to abhor those sins which cost Jesus Christ His life, before God could be prevailed with to pardon them.

He will also easily understand, that the love of Christ, and the remembrance of His death, ought to be very dear to us; and that the oftener we remember it in the manner He ordained, the more graces we shall receive from God, the firmer will be our faith, the surer our pardon, and the more comfortable our hopes of meeting Him, not as an enemy but as a friend, at whose table we have been so often entertained.


Free Audiobook of the Month -



Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

Donald Whitney's study, The Spiritual Disciplines in the Christian Life is also highly regarded by Evangelicals and Charismatics. This month only, christianaudio.com is offering an audio download of Whitney's book for free. You can download to your computer and listen on your mp3 device at no charge. Please take advantage of this excellent offer. 

St. John's Bible Exhibit at the Mobile Museum of Art

Hey Guys! 
 
I had the privilege to see the St. John's Bible Exhibit at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, Alabama, yesterday.  It was SPECTACULAR!
 
The Saint John's Bible is an ongoing project, commisssioned by Benedictine Monks in Minnesota, to hand write (calligraphy) the whole Bible in the style of the monks of the Middle Ages and prior.  It is "authenitic" in the sense of being done on calf-skin pages (vellum) with the hand-mixed ink and paints, and hand-made goose quill pens, etc., according to the traditional techniques.  It is being done, as inspired by the beginning of the 3rd Christian Millenium, by an artist group in Wales, GB. 
 
This is the website that will tell more about it:  saintjohnsbible.org
 
This is far more than just hand-written text.  The Biblical Art-Work that is married into the text is absolutely astounding ! with (mostly) more comtemporary style paintings in multiple colors and Gold Leaf. 
 
One MAIN POINT is the rare privilege to have an exhibition of this nature in the area ! 
 
Exhibiting these pages is rare in itself, and there are only two other concurrent exhbitions for this year in the country (other parts of the Bible that have been completed)--as you can note on the website.  It is a RARE opportunity to see Christian Masterpiece in the making, in my humble opinion!
 
Museum admission is $10 per head (for all of the exhibits), and the St.John's Bible exhibit ends on April 12th.
 
If you can get to Mobile before the 12th to see it, I think you will find it to be well worth the effort!
 
Respectfully,   Clay

(submitted by Clay Rowe)

Book List for PS-501: 'Life in the Spirit: Spiritual Formation and Direction'




REQUIRED TEXTS
  




Agape Road- Bob Mumford


Christian Healing- Rev. Cn. Mark Pearson

The Spirit of the Disciplines- Dallas Willard

RECOMMENDED TEXTS (For your Library)

Wild at Heart- John Eldridge
Unto Full Stature- Devern Fromke
Beginning Spiritual Direction- David E. Rosage
The Pursuit of God- A.W. Tozer
The Sayings of the Desert Fathers- Benedicta Ward
Bill Hamon’s books
Leanne Payne’s books
Eugene H. Peterson’s books

The purpose of this course is to equip the student with the resources to strengthen their life in the Spirit, to comprehend the Charismatic tradition within the Church catholic, and to explore the spiritual disciplines that will aid in their maturity in Christ. The personal and corporate aspects of life in the Spirit will be emphasized.

(I found that most of these books and most of these authors are found on Google Books; and can be read/downloaded for free)


Deacon John's Homiletics Session Two Notes


Deacon John's notes for our Homiletics class can be accessed at this link...

LS- 550 Homiletics Session Two notes

(you must sign in to Google to view the documents)

St. Michaels Seminary hosts instructed Divine Liturgy


The Maryland campus of St. Michael’s Seminary hosted an instructed Divine Liturgy conducted by Fr. Michael Clancy of the Orthodox Anglican Church. Fr. Michael, formerly of the Patriarchate of Moscow, celebrated the Eastern Orthodox Eucharist and answered questions for the students. This event was part of the Charismatic Episcopal Church seminary course Ancient Ecumenical Traditions, Orthodox, Roman and Anglican/Celtic. Fr. Michael’s presentation, which he normally conducts for his own church’s seminary, was a wonderful and practical conclusion to the Fall semester. It tied together a great deal of what the seminarians had been learning and allowed them to see and participate in this beautiful celebration of the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Fr. Michael also anointed the people with holy oil mingled with the tears of a weeping icon of the Madonna. Fr. Michael is a friend of the CEC and sometimes attends The Church of the Good Shepherd, CEC in Ellicott City, MD. Fr. Michael is a chaplain with the Maryland National Guard and serves with Fr. Martin Eppard (the course instructor) as a police chaplain. All of the seminarians were greatly blessed by this event. The lecture and questions and answer time was extremely informative, but the most wonderful part of the evening was the celebration of the sacrament in this unique way.

Archbishop Vigneron calls for opposition to Obama abortion stand.

Archbishop Vigneron, the next Archbishop of Detroit, has expressed disappointment with Obama’s position on abortion and has called for forceful opposition and coalition-building to counter it.
Archbishop Vigneron, speaking in an interview with the Detroit News, said he shares other bishops’ concerns that the Obama administration has given indications that the president is going to rescind some protections for the unborn.

“And I am very disappointed in that,” he told the Detroit News. “We are going to have to represent our opposition as forcefully as we can and try to build coalitions to dissuade the administration from moving to that.”

The archbishop declined to answer whether he would deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, calling it a “hypothetical question.”

“I simply want to affirm that part of being a Catholic is having a conviction that on these moral matters, the church speaks the mind of Christ. And I want to help Catholics, especially Catholics in responsible positions, to maintain the integrity of their professions,” he told the Detroit News.

Archbishop Vigneron also voiced concern about the economy of Michigan and its impact on people and families.

Other plans for his new flock include reinvigorating the priesthood by encouraging vocations and focusing on pastoral care for students at Catholic colleges and universities.

The archbishop added that he will immerse himself in the archdiocese’s “Together in Faith” reorganization program which is closing or consolidating dozens of parishes.


Obama Grants Funding for Abortions


Our new president has just signed an executive order, rolling back a previous ban by Pres. G.W. Bush, to allow taxpayer dollars to be used to fund abortions abroad... 

Now those of you who know me understand that I am against all forms of murder, the death penalty and especially abortion; but I have to say "I told you so!" 

Our current leadership has defined the parameters for acceptable argument on abortion; which they so lovingly call "Family Planning" (how very Orwellian), and will reserve a special place on the chopping block for all voices of dissent. The "liberal" (which is more centrist than true liberalism) government that we have put in power, in our infinite wisdom, has manufactured the consent of Americans to support murder and abortion; through its strangle hold on public opinion, media, and pulpit. This should come as no surprise to some as this is the way that our mob-rules-elitist-government protects it's interests.

Well as you can tell this stuff gets my dander up, and it is said that "There is no such thing as bad press" so in a push to be more placable and still maintain an air of smugness; I will forthwith cease from using the Christian and Surname of our Commander in Cheif and will forever call him by his new cognomen  Socialist Maximus   


"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." - Thomas Paine 

President Obama uses Lincoln Bible at Inauguration

President Obama used the Lincoln Bible at his inauguration; the first president to do so in 147 years. 

Barack Obama has chosen to be sworn in on the Holy Bible, and he will invoke God. He is not obliged to do either; he has chosen to. And (unlike Bishop Gene Robinson) he apparently does not care about those he may offend by doing so.

It is heartening to see politicians fearlessly treading where clerics have ceased to.

The US Constitution does not require a Bible, but it has become tradition.

There have been a few lawsuits attempting to oblige the Chief Justice – who will administer the Oath of Office– from adding ‘so help me God’ to the constitutionally prescribed presidential oath (Art. II, Sec. 1). They have also sought to declare unconstitutional the use of clergy to deliver an invocation and benediction.

But all this is trivia and tittle-tattle. 

Barack Obama is not being sworn in on just any old Bible, like most of his predecessors. He is to use the very tome used by Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration of 1861. He will be the first incoming president in 147 years to use the Lincoln Bible, and he has chosen to do so because he intends pursuing Lincoln’s themes of national unity, arguing that the US Constitution was created ‘to form a more perfect Union’.

Bizarrely, Mr Obama will travel to his inauguration via the same route that Lincoln took, and will also eat lunch off replicas of the Lincolns' White House china.

The spirit of Lincoln will be as immanent as the Spirit of God. 

Most presidents have sworn the Oath of Office upon a Bible which had personal or political significance – usually the family Bible. Theodore Roosevelt exceptionally swore on nothing, and John Quincy Adams, although a Christian, took his presidential oath upon a "Volume of Laws", declaring that he was elected to preserve, protect and defend the US Constitution.

Adams’ choice of ‘unholy’ writ was unique, since those who were not sworn in on the Bible (however hastily) all laid their hands on something which they considered ‘holy’. Lyndon B. Johnson took his oath aboard Air Force 1 upon a Missal – the Roman Catholic liturgical book – because it was all that was found in President Kennedy’s airplane bedroom. 

Harding was sworn in on the Bible used by George Washington in 1789. Eisenhower, Carter and Bush Snr all doubled up, using the Washington Bible along with their family bibles. Clinton used his grandmother’s Bible, and Coolidge, Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan all used bibles from the maternal sides of their families.

The Bible has now become intrinsic to the inauguration ceremony, so much so that more questions would be asked about a presidential candidate who purposely eschewed it than would ever be asked of a candidate who deploys it. History still notes that Franklin Pierce broke with precedent in 1853 when he chose not to kiss the Bible.

1 Timothy Chapter 2

First of all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that outwardly we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life and inwardly a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. For such praying is good and right, and it is pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, who wishes all men to be saved and increasingly to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the divine Truth. For there is only one God, and only one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people, a fact that was attested to at the right and proper time. And of this matter I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (special messenger)--I am speaking the truth in Christ, I do not falsify when I say this--a teacher of the Gentiles in the realm of faith and truth.